Innocence slaughtered : gas and the transformation of warfare and society
London : Uniform Press, 2016
p. 238-272 : photogr.
This chapter describes the evolution of attitudes towards gas warfare between the end of the First World War and the adoption of the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of asphyxiating or poisonous or other gases or bacteriological methods of warfare, and how they affected efforts to widen and strengthen international norms against chemical weapons. It shows that both during and after the war, Germans and Allies alike maintained starkly diverging interpretations when describing the first gas attack near Ypres on 22 April 1915 and addressing whether and how the rules agreed on at the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conferences had been broken. The argument pitted the British, French and US legal positivism against German adherence to principles of natural law, of which the notion of Kriegraison dominated other legal considerations if warranted by military necessity on the battlefield. The author also examines the evolution which took place after the First World War when the international community began to focus on banning chemical weapons themselves, rather than just their use, and argues that the Geneva Protocol, still in force today, laid the foundation for chemical weapon disarmament negotiations in the final quarter of the 20th century.
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